23/07/2010 15:03 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Boy, 3, Survives Heart Failure, Transplant And Leukaemia

Brave toddler Patrick Skinner has defied the odds by battling leukaemia, heart failure and a heart transplant.

The boy's heart failed when chemotherapy drugs were used to treat the blood disorder.

With the help of two heart pumps, he managed to stay alive until a suitable donor was found for a transplant operation three months later.

Now, as he approaches his fourth birthday, he is preparing to take part in a five-mile sponsored walk.

His parents Kevin Skinner and Devon Higgins, 26, who live in Whitley Bay in Tyne and Wear, are stunned at his amazing recovery.

Mr Skinner, 29, a structural engineer, said: 'Nobody expects to see their children go through the kind of problems which Patrick has.

'To see him so active now is amazing and we are very grateful for the care he has received.'
Patrick was first diagnosed with leukaemia in July 2008 after his parents took him to their GP, after becoming concerned about his bad chest.

He underwent a six-month course of chemotherapy in just four. He then went into remission in early December, but took a turn for the worse.

On Christmas Eve, his heart failed despite doctors' assurances that the chances of it happening were rare.

With the help of two special circulatory pumps known as a Berlin Heart, which operate outside the body, medics were able to keep him alive until a heart transplant donor was found in March.

Fifteen months after the operation, Patrick is preparing to join his parents on August 1 for a five-mile sponsored walk in Leazes Park, Newcastle for the Great North Children's Hospital Appeal.

Mr Skinner said: 'The Great North Children's Hospital Appeal is doing a fantastic job helping to make visits to hospital easier for children and their parents.

'Patrick was very young when he was in hospital for months at a time and at that point he accepted that that was just how life was.

'However now he's growing older he knows that's not the case and hospital visits are getting more and more difficult for him and for us.

'Anything which can be added to the facilities within the new children's hospital to provide distractions for young patients and help parents and staff is extremely welcome.'